On May 2017, plans to replace the Collinsville coal plant with a solar farm was put into effect. The project had a $60 million investment through the Large-Scale Solar Program of Clean Energy Finance (CEFC). This initiative of CEFC has a total value and capacity of $900 million and 400MW respectively. Nearly a year later, in Aug 2018, the first set of panels of the Collinsville solar farm was turned on as part of the commissioning stages, completing the coal to solar transformation. A decade earlier, such a transformation plus reutilization plan, where any form of renewable energy completely replacing large-scale fossil fuel plant, would have made skeptics out of most energy analysts.
Owned by Ratch Australia, estimate frames a $83 million revenue over the first 13 months. UGL (CIMIC Group) will provide the EPC, testing and O&M services for 5 years. The project has its power purchase agreement (purchase of electricity and LGCs till 2030) with Alinta Energy. The operation of the farm will also bring local employment opportunities – 2 permanent and 20 cleaning staff (every 6 months). Furthermore, support for the project also came in the form of a $9.5 million ARENA funding. In fact, the development phase of the project was pretty long – dating back to viability studies in early 2010s.
Collinsville Solar Farm – Project Data
This brownfield project consists of 180,000 panels (located at 23.53S, 147.80E) with a production capacity of 42.5W. The configuration includes 355W Trina Solar (TSM-DE14A) modules with 17 x 2.5 MW SMA inverter. The panels cover an area of 317,587 sq.m (ground coverage ratio of 60%) at a tilt angle of 10°.
This project can utilize the existing infrastructure at the Collinsville coal plant. It will be able to power 15,000 Queensland homes (130,000 MWh generation over 20 years). The sunshine state already has a strong a renewable energy portfolio – 9% of the total electricity generation in 2017. The $100 million Collinsville solar farm is a further testament to reliability of renewable energy to replace traditional fossil fuels at utility-scale power generations.